This weekend, I took our weekly photo of Kuster. I’ve had the rather ambitious goal of getting a picture of him every weekend to compare how much he’s grown on a weekly basis. So far, I’ve managed to catch one pretty regularly. It’s hard to believe how much he’s grown in such a short time, and I admit, it’s going much too quickly. I thought puppyhood would last for a while, like a magical time, but it’s very fleeting.
We went up to meet the breeder while Kuster was still a bun in the oven. She let us meet his mom, dad and his uncle and cousin. Some of you might remember that I fell hopelessly in love with his cousin, Immi. After I met Immi and Peter, I secretly hoped that the puppy we’d end up with would be a black one. When we got word that the litter had finally been born, I was over the moon to learn that there were two black puppies in the litter. That being said, I know very well that color is the least important part of choosing a puppy, especially a working puppy. But I’m not going to lie, I still adored those little black puppy pictures we kept getting in e-mails. After we went up and met them, I could barely contain myself when my husband decided that the black male was the puppy for him.
When we first brought him home, I could hold him in my lap for short amounts of time. Then he learned to use his teeth as weapons of mass destruction. It was dangerous to walk through the living room and kitchen and our ankles, hands and arms were covered in red stripes from his, ahem, outbursts of enthusiasm. Mr. Taleteller was lucky that Christmas came around because he didn’t have a single shirt left to his name that hadn’t been ripped by the time the holiday rolled around. Then, somehow we turned a corner and he found out that giving puppy kisses would melt even a heart made of stone. He still nips at us when he gets overly excited during play, but that happens less frequently, and he’s a lot more gentle about it now than he used to be.
He’s found new games to torment us with. Now that he’s gained more coordination, grabbing a slipper, shoe or sock and running with it is something he can’t resist. Kuster adores the game of chase. It puts him off to no end when we refuse to play. That doesn’t deter him from trying to get us to join him every day, though.
Kuster has also discovered the wonders of chasing a tennis ball. He adores playing with Morgan, and she’s still very good with him, but she gets tired of his horse play at times now. He plays with Bunny, too, but I think he’s still halfway afraid of her. Blueberry still prefers to pretend that he doesn’t exist.
The thing that’s amazed me the most about him, aside from how fast he’s growing, is how intelligent he is. He can see something once, repeat it a couple of times, and then it’s committed to memory. I’m afraid to do certain things in front of him, because I strongly suspect he’ll figure out how to do them by watching me. He’s learned to sit, down, go to bed, kennel, watch and climb onto things on command. At this point, I don’t think there’s anything he can’t learn, although there may be a few he decides that he doesn’t want to learn.
I know that he has a lot of training ahead of him. Search and Rescue dogs train for two years before they start taking certification tests. As smart as he is, though, I can’t imagine him not being able to make it. I look at him now and see a small dog instead of a puppy, and I think I can see a little bit of the future. We’ve learned a lot from him already, and I’m sure there’s a lot more to come. It’s just hard to believe that he’s already come this far!